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TalkingMuffin

The Lightsaber Skill: What should it do?

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Beyond the normal things. I was thinking any blocking/redirecting/throwing, etc would come from Talents, not the skill. However, I can see an argument for saying that as you become more skilled with a lightsaber, you can block blaster bolts and such. Thoughts? And no, I'm not trying tofan the "No Jedi?!" flames. :)

 

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TalkingMuffin said:

Beyond the normal things. I was thinking any blocking/redirecting/throwing, etc would come from Talents, not the skill. However, I can see an argument for saying that as you become more skilled with a lightsaber, you can block blaster bolts and such. Thoughts? And no, I'm not trying tofan the "No Jedi?!" flames. :)

By itself, make you more accurate at hitting things with a lightsaber, the same way any of the other combat skills work in EotE.

That said, while blocking/reflecting/etc would be covered by talents, a suggestion was made back in the early days of the Beta, when lightsabers had Deflection 1 and Defensive 2, that those qualities only applied if someone was actually trained in the Lightsaber skill, enabling them to make use of the defensive properties but putting them out of the hands of the untrained.

My thought, if you are goint to include such a house rule, would be to stagger the progression of how those qualities are gained, perhaps gaining Defensive at 2 skill ranks and Deflection at 4 skill ranks.  Easier to parry melee strikes than it is to parry blaster fire.  This does make the lightsaber a more powerful weapon in comparison to other melee weapons, but the trade-offs are that lightsaber are rather hard to procure, and the skill really only covers a single weapon, where the other combat skills cover a vareity of weapons.

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Donovan Morningfire said:

This does make the lightsaber a more powerful weapon in comparison to other melee weapons, but the trade-offs are that lightsaber are rather hard to procure, and the skill really only covers a single weapon, where the other combat skills cover a vareity of weapons.

Actually sometimes I think there are more lightsaber types then blaster pistol types in Star Wars:

 

  1. Single lightsaber
  2. Double bladed lightsaber
  3. Short lightsaber (shoto)
  4. Guard shoto (lightsaber used in Force Unleashed where it protects the arm)
  5. The extra long lightsaber blade / Great Saber that Corran Horn can switch on
  6. The one with the Y-forked blade
  7. Lightwhip
  8. Light pike
  9. Curved hilt lightsaber
  10. Long-handled lightsaber

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FuzzyLog1cZA said:

Donovan Morningfire said:

 

This does make the lightsaber a more powerful weapon in comparison to other melee weapons, but the trade-offs are that lightsaber are rather hard to procure, and the skill really only covers a single weapon, where the other combat skills cover a vareity of weapons.

 

 

Actually sometimes I think there are more lightsaber types then blaster pistol types in Star Wars:

 

  1. Single lightsaber
  2. Double bladed lightsaber
  3. Short lightsaber (shoto)
  4. Guard shoto (lightsaber used in Force Unleashed where it protects the arm)
  5. The extra long lightsaber blade / Great Saber that Corran Horn can switch on
  6. The one with the Y-forked blade
  7. Lightwhip
  8. Light pike
  9. Curved hilt lightsaber
  10. Long-handled lightsaber

All of which are the same thing with different flavors, just like the different blaster pistols. Unless you are meaning the difference between heavy blaster pistols--blaster pisols--holdout blaster pistols? A lot of the uniqueness of weapons is going to come from the customization of them. Hopefully we will get more options for melee weapons. I think it has been said there will be more.

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FuzzyLog1cZA said:

Actually sometimes I think there are more lightsaber types then blaster pistol types in Star Wars:

And how many of those really and truly need to have their own individual mechanics under FFG's Star Wars ruleset?  d20 pretty much lives and breathes excessive crunch, so Saga Edition pretty much needed to have different stats for every different version of a lightsaber you see in the films.  And those same stats work fine for a curved-hilt lightsaber or long-handled lightsaber (they really do not need their own special game rules), and as reach isn't really a factor in EotE, the long-bladed saber and shoto can make do with the same basic stats as a lightsaber.  In fact, out of that list, the only two that might need their own mechanics would be lightwhips (although they too could fall under lightsaber) and guard shoto (which is simply a matter of adding a rank of the Defensive quality).

Right now there's only the basic single-blade lightsaber in the rules, and as mouthhmerc said, that will cover the bases for the vast majority of lightsaber types, with any variations being incredibly minor, and most of those variant types really not needing their own specific write-up, much the same way that FFG didn't give the DL-18, DH-23, DL-22, or Model 57 (all of which fall under the heading of "blaster pistols") their own specific entries.

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As Jegergryte said, if I were you I would leave the mechanics regarding skills untouched and create a whole new talent tree to include those things you want for the light saber. I cannot point you where, but I know that there were some attempts to create force user specialization trees and some of them were aimed to a kind of lightsaber duelist PC. You can look for them to get idees.

 

Cheers,

Yepes

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Donovan Morningfire said:

And how many of those really and truly need to have their own individual mechanics under FFG's Star Wars ruleset?  d20 pretty much lives and breathes excessive crunch, so Saga Edition pretty much needed to have different stats for every different version of a lightsaber you see in the films.  And those same stats work fine for a curved-hilt lightsaber or long-handled lightsaber (they really do not need their own special game rules), and as reach isn't really a factor in EotE, the long-bladed saber and shoto can make do with the same basic stats as a lightsaber.  In fact, out of that list, the only two that might need their own mechanics would be lightwhips (although they too could fall under lightsaber) and guard shoto (which is simply a matter of adding a rank of the Defensive quality).

Right now there's only the basic single-blade lightsaber in the rules, and as mouthhmerc said, that will cover the bases for the vast majority of lightsaber types, with any variations being incredibly minor, and most of those variant types really not needing their own specific write-up, much the same way that FFG didn't give the DL-18, DH-23, DL-22, or Model 57 (all of which fall under the heading of "blaster pistols") their own specific entries.

While my post was actually just me being facetious about the stats for various lightsabers in Saga edition, I do think the difference between a lightsaber and a double bladed lightsaber could be equivalent to the difference between a blaster pistol and a heavy blaster pistol in this system.

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FuzzyLog1cZA said:

While my post was actually just me being facetious about the stats for various lightsabers in Saga edition, I do think the difference between a lightsaber and a double bladed lightsaber could be equivalent to the difference between a blaster pistol and a heavy blaster pistol in this system.

I'm curious as to why? Does the blade on a double-bladed lightsaber do more damage than a single-bladed one? I would think that treating a double-bladed lightsaber like two-weapon combat would be the way to go.

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mouthymerc said:

I'm curious as to why? Does the blade on a double-bladed lightsaber do more damage than a single-bladed one? I would think that treating a double-bladed lightsaber like two-weapon combat would be the way to go.

That would be how I would have ruled 2 seperate lightsabers. The reason I would give a double bladed lightsaber more damage is to simplify the roll calculation for it and balance it more with a single lightsaber. This just make it slightly more lethal/resource consuming to fight off.

Going the two weapon fighting route would mean hitting twice with a lightsaber if you get those two advantages. This would do some incredible damage. Though that also makes sense.

Maybe I'm looking at damage calculations the wrong way but to me damage shouldn't equate to the power output of the weapon, more the complexity of using the weapon and the resources required to stave it off. Regardless of how I feel though all will be revealed in a few years when the Jedi book comes out.

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I strongly feel that things like deflecting blaster bolts is a product of Force powers, combined with a weapon capable of doing it.

I know that its quite possible to wield lightsabers without being a Force user, and even being a deadly duelist.  But some aspects cross the border from training and stand firmly on the side of mystic abilities.  Parrying the Star Wars equivalent of bullets is definitely in the latter category in my opinion.

I would consider the Lightsaber skill as a baseline requirement to perform such feats, but the feats themselves should definitely be acquired via a talent reserved for Force Users.

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FuzzyLog1cZA said:

That would be how I would have ruled 2 seperate lightsabers. The reason I would give a double bladed lightsaber more damage is to simplify the roll calculation for it and balance it more with a single lightsaber. This just make it slightly more lethal/resource consuming to fight off.

In that case, if increasing damage, not make it like a double weapon, at least add cumbersome 3 or 4 (but let's say that perhaps agility could equate to brawn in this case?) and increase damage by 1 or 2… and would you let it be treated as two weapons in combo too? For my own way to work out this I only made it more encumbering and slapped on a "double" quality, which means it can count as two weapons - difficulty increase must still be suffered if two attacks are to be dealt. Arguably, I guess, one could say that double weapons only add a Setback die instead of a difficulty die when dual wielding (in this case I'd still upgrade the Setback die if going against an opponent with the adversary talent - either straight from setback die to challenge, or if feeling really generous, let it pop by difficulty die beforehand, but this goes against the rules as written I believe.)

FuzzyLog1cZA said:

Going the two weapon fighting route would mean hitting twice with a lightsaber if you get those two advantages. This would do some incredible damage. Though that also makes sense.

I think it would make more sense - even if its really powerful. The other way, lets say increase damage by 2, makes less sense, but is perhaps more balanced.

FuzzyLog1cZA said:

Maybe I'm looking at damage calculations the wrong way but to me damage shouldn't equate to the power output of the weapon, more the complexity of using the weapon and the resources required to stave it off. Regardless of how I feel though all will be revealed in a few years when the Jedi book comes out.

Interesting notion, but I still think that the damage of a weapon is very much its inherent power supply, sharpness, weight, whatnot. More so than an abstraction of its danger and complexity to wield and so on. Still, its a good point to consider.

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In so far as double-bladed lightsabers go, I think the easiest method is simply use the existing two-weapon fighting rules.  Because when you get down to brass tacks, a double-bladed lightsaber in terms of pure game mechanics has little difference from wielding two individual lightsabers.  The only mechanical change I'd suggest is increase the hardness a point or two, but seeing as how EotE doesn't deal in off-hand penalties or "light" weapons the way that d20 does, it doesn't need a damage bump or anything else really.  The main perk is that you only have to draw a single weapon in order to be able to fight with two weapons rather than having to draw/wield two individual lightsabers, with the added perk that if one end gets damaged, you've still got a single-blade lightsaber left to fight with.

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There should be another tree for lightsaber combat.  my only hope is they ignore the silly "Styles" of lightsaber combat.  When I have done sword fighting (with wooden bokken or Shinai) how I fought was based on the rules of the match, what weapons we were using, and my opponent.

But also there should be a skill to compliment the tree, making some pre-requisites for the tree based on your ranks of the skill, and force tree.

double bladed lightsabers are cool looking, but highly impractical for combat.

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Personally, I really liked that Lightsabers were hella dangerous to the wielder in WEG's edition of SWRPG (or at least the 2nd Ed did, which is the only edition I had substantial experience with).  Lightsabers had a special effect that injured the wielder if an attack missed the difficulty by 10 or more.  The weapon's base difficulty was also a 20, which was 5-10 higher than other melee weapons in the game.  I don't want to get into the details (they're pretty bizarre by today's game rule standards), but it meant that lightsabers were substantially harder to use than other melee weapons.  

These qualities made 'sabers pretty unappealing weapons, unless you were had substantial training and/or were a Jedi/force user with the Lightsaber Combat force power.  To bring this back to the thread, I would make the following changes to EotE:

#1: Add the Challenging weapon quality to the game

CHALLENGING X [PASSIVE]

Challenging weapons are more difficult for untrainted characters to wield in combat.  If the weapon has more ranks in Challenging than the attacker has ranks in the weapon's associated combat skill, then the difficulty of checks to use the weapon is upgraded a number of times equal to the difference between the weapons Challenging rating and the wielder's weapon skill ranks.  If a characer's ranks in the relevant combat skill exceed the weapon's Challenging rating, then the Challenging quality has no effect.

#2: Give Lightsabers Challenging 2

#3: Add the following text to the lightsaber's descriptive text:

  • Because the energy blade produces no resistance and has virtually no weight, it is very dangerous for beginers to use, and those without any formal training are as dangrous to themselves as to their opponents (straight up copied from WEG's SWRPG 2nd ed, R&E, pg 228).  Game Masters can spend [Despair] to inflict a critical wound on the wielder of the lightsaber.
  • Without a connetion to the force, it is difficult for a character to intuit the orientation of the lightsaber's weightless energy blade.  Despite being a melee weapon, the base difficulty to use a lightsaber is "Hard" (PPP) for characters without FR 1 or greater.

With these changes, 'sabers are now nasty weapons untrained, and the Challenging quality provides a way to generate the [Despair] needed to activate the lightsaber's special ability.  The Lightsaber skill is now invaluable because it reduces the threat of self injury from the Lightsaber's Challenging quality.

 

Other Ideas:

Alternative #1:  Amend text in #3's text above, first bullet point to require the roll to also be a miss.

Alternative #2:  Just make the lightsaber's base difficulty "Hard" unconditionally.

Alternative #3: When making an attack with a lightsaber, a character may add a number of force dice to the roll equal to the smaller number of ranks he has in either his [effective*] FR or Lightsaber skill.  Each lightside point may be treated as either a success or advantage at the character's discretion.

*Remember, characters that have active ongoing effects from their force powers have their effective FR reduced by the number of force dice committed to maintain the ongoing effects.  

The term "Effective FR" is not used in the book, and I'm using it here as shorthand for "The number of force dice a character could roll to activate a force power this round", or "FR - Force dice committed to ongoing effect maintenance".

 

Anyway, just a few ideas.  Overall, Alt #3 is the simplest, but I really like the flavor added by the other changes I proposed above.

 

-WJL

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Since there has never been a character in a movie that's hurt themselves using a  lightsaber, encluding Han Solo, I don't see the point.

 

Then again, I never bought into the idea that a lightsaber was ever that inherently dangerous to use, since Luke managed to spar with remotes with less than a few hours pratice without chopping his own leg off.

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Jegergryte said:

I'd treat it as any combat skill. No extras - except the fact that you're trained in using a lighsaber. The weapon is more than powerful enough.

This. 

The lightsaber itself is an extremely powerful weapon, and the fact that you can use it at all without risking self-harm (maybe through Threats or Dispair?) is a huge plus. The skill itself shouldn't afford any benefits that other combat skills do/don't - that should be the province of Talents. :)

Even with the remod on the original lightsaber make-up, I still love the fact that it's a deadly piece of arsenal: 10 + Successes of Damage, ignoring 10 points of Soak, etc. all make for a "I would SO get one if I could" kind of artifact. The way it should be.

On the subject of lightsabers being dangerous to use untrained: there are often references to the fact that it's a dangerous weapon to use because of the fact that the blade is unweighted - it's all in the grip, which means that judging the positioning the blade would be difficult to do, especially in the heat of a contact. I don't think that this should be forgotten in any ruleset - if anything, it can be used as a deterent for players making use of a lightsaber, should one turn up, at least until they make the XP investment necessary to earn them the right to use it.

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Shakespearian_Soldier said:

On the subject of lightsabers being dangerous to use untrained: there are often references to the fact that it's a dangerous weapon to use because of the fact that the blade is unweighted - it's all in the grip, which means that judging the positioning the blade would be difficult to do, especially in the heat of a contact. I don't think that this should be forgotten in any ruleset - if anything, it can be used as a deterent for players making use of a lightsaber, should one turn up, at least until they make the XP investment necessary to earn them the right to use it.

 

Except that they are so rare and expensive under the current rules that you don't need a deterent..  Except through GM fait, you sure as hell aren't starting with one, and you can almost buy a full up starship for what one would cost.

 

And if your players either go through the massive amount of trouble or save their centi-creds to actually buy one on the black market some how?

 

Let them use it without to much trouble.  Melee combat is a distant second to ranged combat, and the extra difficulty dice is going to show.  SO let them get thier glowly cheese stick on.

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I suppose it's a case of each to their own: to me, lightsabers ARE dangerous to use without practise and training - it's the reason that Younglings were only ever given practise sabres to work with. :) It's not that I would hitch up the Difficulty or an attack with it, just make a point of saying that a Despair icon could indicate a misjudged swing or something similar.

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Brand names are important. 

One of the advantages of playing the official Star Wars™ RPG is so you can shoot your Blaster at a Wookie on Hoth, not a Blazer at a Carpetman on Iceplanet.

It does matter that you are flying an X-Wing, or shooting one of the guns for which the prop is a modified broomhandle mauser like Han Solo has.

Similarly, it does matter if you have a double bladed lightsaber like Darth Maul.

The question, I think, is how to get the flavour in the game without slowing things down too much.

I think you want exchanges like:-

Kaylee: You're gonna come with us.
Book: Excuse me?
Kaylee: You like ships. You don't seem to be looking at the destinations. Whatcha care about is the ships and mine's the nicest.
Book: She don't look like much.
Kaylee: Ah… she'll fool ya. You ever sail in a Firefly?
Book: Long before you were crawling. Not an aught-three though. Didn't have the extenders. Tended to shake.

but without bogging down the game system with minutia.

It matters, I think, to the fiction that you are using a lightsaber crafted by one of the finest sabersmiths of the Old Republic, with his distinctive long tang and oversized pommel weight, but you may not want to me adding the +1 that gives you every fight.

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Back during the beta I suggested the Dangerous quality for lightsabers. Basically it could be ranked and would upgrade a number of difficulty dice to challenge dice when the weapon was used untrained. Beyond that, the fact that threat can be spent on strain already gives an option for "harming" somone using a lightsaber. Also, if you want to show how dangerous they are you could use the text for the disruptor pistol/rifle refering to its critical effect causing the crippled effect.

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I don't think the game needs specific rules for PCs cutting their leg off with their own lightsaber, especially if you won't use them for anyone trained with the saber, which is going to be far and away the majority of characters who will use one. Save the space and complexity for something that matters.

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The system allows for a lot of flexibility, so each one can play the way he likes.

As an example, if lightsabers have to be dangerous when used by a non-Jedi, simply upgrade the difficulty by one or two dice. On a roll of a…what is the name? despair? Then the character injures himself. But there are hundred other ways on doing this probably.

 

Cheers,

Yepes

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